Sri Lanka: A Multi-Activity Adventure Including Community Support Projects
Sri Lanka, once known as the "The Pearl of the Indian Ocean" is back in the mustdo list of world travelers. Indeed a tropical island paradise, it has an extraordinary number of facets for the die-hard explorer. Sir Arthur C Clarke remarked: "Sri Lanka is a small universe; it contains as many variations of culture, scenery, and climate as some countries a dozen times its size. I find it hard to believe that there is any country which scores so highly in all departments - which has so many advantages and so few disadvantages." Lovely beaches, beautiful landscapes, impressive ruins, a vibrant culture and charming people." No wonder Sri Lanka is a small miracle. One of the many unfathomable mysteries of tiny Sri Lanka is how it manages to squeeze in so many different features. These include palm-fringed warm coastal beaches; picturesque highlands with sprawling tea plantations; over a two thousand five hundred year old ancient culture blended in later periods with the impact of Dutch, Portuguese and British influence; seven World Heritage Sites; probably the worldâ€™s eighth wonder; diverse crops from coconut along the warm coastal waters to the world famous tea gardens; its range of spices; its abundant flora, fauna, and precious gem stones; all this in one picturesque island with a land area no larger than Ireland. Join us for an authentic Sri Lanka adventure packed with activities, community support and a genuine crosscultural learning experience.
18 Day Tour
March 27-April 13, 2010
SRI LANKA THE SMALL MIRACLE
The Trip Overview
SRI LANKA THE SMALL MIRACLE
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Dolphin watching Elephant back safari Hiriwadunna Village walk Kandalama Jungle Trek Minneriya Jeep safari Sigiriya Rock Climb Primate Research Camp Catamaran rides Bird watching Tea country Hiking Hiking in Horton Plains Hill country train ride River Rafting Udawalawe Elephant Home & Jeep safari ◊ Tangalle Beach Cabana Stay ◊ Community project Support & more…
Sri Lanka is a natural paradise ideal for walking; a landscape of verdant mountains, rainforests, paddy fields, tumbling waterfalls and sweeping gorges. This is a land with a thousand shades of tropical greenery, friendly people, delicious spicy food and 2500 years of recorded history of a pre-dominantly Buddhist culture and civilization. Our 18-day small group adventure from central Sri Lanka to south of the island is suitable for any age group with reasonable fitness. We travel by coach, rail, elephant back, safari jeeps and on foot in different terrains as our trek take us through remote villages and chena farms of the central highlands, through scrub jungle and cane forests, on to the cooler climates of the hill country with astounding mountain scenery before we descend to lowlands and coastal resorts in the south of the island. The route is designed to impact as little as possible on the regions through which we travel and offers you a chance to give something back to the regions you visit. We assist a variety of conservation and wildlife charities, getting to see their work up close and in action. You will have close encounters with primates at a Smithsonian Field research & conservation Camp and a deeper insight into the efforts that go into their conservation. You will join the researchers to track monkeys, observe their behavior as well as assisting physically with this valuable research. The Elephant Transit Home at Udawalawe Park is a project with the Born Free Foundation, UK. We see the rescued orphans being rehabilitated before they are returned to the wild. We use everything local and the money from our visit reaches a wide range of people from local hoteliers to restaurateurs. We stay at Eco-friendly, safe and clean hotels that depict the island’s true flavour, the warmth and hospitality that Sri Lankans are known for.
Canadians meet villagers in Hiriwadunna – 2005 tsunami challenge trek As a small group, our itinerary has minimal impact on the environment, and our interaction with local people helps demonstrate the importance of preserving the country’s cultural heritage whilst protecting the sites of historical and natural importance. Included in the trip for every participant is a personal gift of a livestock (a cow per family) to poor farming families and widows in Pottuvil and Arugam Bay area of the Eastern province. The farmers here have suffered enormously during the armed conflicts and in the devastation of the 2004 tsunami. On many fronts, their livelihoods were deeply impacted for several decades. With the normalcy now returned, the task of rebuilding morale and the infrastructure for these poor communities has begun. Our gifts will be much needed boosters for the farmers to overcome the economic hardships and create opportunities to generate income for their very survival. The included day trip takes you to the village to meet the recipients, hand over the gifts in person and time to interact with the farmers.
Is this adventure for you? Are you not an avid trekking enthusiast? No problem. We can design a parallel program just for you. While the active family members and your partners enjoy the off-road adventure skills and hiking thrills, we will run the itinerary with a vehicle along a similar route, offer alternative sightseeing and let you connect with your loved ones in the accommodation at the end of the day. This alternative can be operated subject to having a certain minimum number of bookings owing to the costs and logistical convenience. Pricing and itinerary available on request.
What’s More – Canadians of Sri Lankan origin are welcome to join us in this tour. We offer stay back flight option in Sri Lanka for those wishing an extended stay after the tour has ended.
The Tour Itinerary
Day 1(March 27) – Depart Canada Depart Canada via Europe. Day 2 (March 28) – En Route En route to Colombo. Day 3 (March 29) Colombo Arrival in Colombo and transfer to our beach hotel. Breakfast, lunch and free time at leisure. Welcome dinner. Overnight at Goldi Sands Beach Hotel, Negombo. (B,L,D) Day 4 (March 30) Alankuda - Habarana Depart for Alankuda, a coastal village for a dolphin watching excursion, a perfect introduction to Sri Lanka. After a short break transfer to Habarana the hub of Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle. En route lunch. Check in to your hotel in Habarana. Evening a nature walk. Dinner and Overnight at Chaaya Village, Habarana (B,L,D) Day 5 & 6 (March 31 & April 1) Habarana- Polonnaruwa Depart for Polonnaruwa. Drive by the 5th century AD ruined city catching a glimpse of what lies ahead to be discovered later. For now, head off to a secluded cove along the banks of the Parakrama Samudraya one of Sri Lanka’s greatest manmade lakes. Our adventure this morning begins when we cast off on a local fisherman’s catamaran to a tiny island in the lake for a breathtaking ride and for an unforgettable breakfast among the nature’s best. We return to the shore and proceed to our next destination, Primate Research Camp, the nature conservation theme of the trip and our home for the next 2 nights. Meet Dr. Wolfgang Dittus, a resident scientist and his research team, our hosts for an informative, fun-filled and exciting exploration of primates. Field visits, guided walks and interactive lectures are included for 2 days. We also take time to explore and appreciate the archeological wonders of Polonnaruwa by touring the ancient ruins. Polonnaruwa rose to fame as the capital of Sri Lanka from the 10th - 12th centuries AD. Our accommodation is in basic but clean and comfortable rooms with attached baths. All meals included and local cuisine is served. Night at Primate Research Camp. (B,L,D)
Day 7 (April 2) Polonnaruwa – Minneriya National Park – Habarana A morning jeep safari in the Minneriya National Park to witness the famous gathering of wild elephants. Proceed to our hotel in Habarana. Afternoon an exciting Elephant back wilderness safari with local guides. Dinner and overnight at Chaaya Village. (B,L,D)
THE SMALL MIRACLE
Day 8 (April 3) Habarana – Hiriwadunna Village – Sigiriya Rock Breakfast and leave for Hiriwaduna village for a trek through an archetypical Sri Lankan village. This is an amazing village walk through scrub jungle and marshlands. The birdlife, butterflies and possible sightings of crocodile only add to the charm of seeing the villagers as they go about their early morning tasks of fishing, or washing clothes at the periphery of the lake. At a Chena cultivation stop to enjoy the farmer’s humble hospitality when the farmer and his family invites us to pick some of the fresh vegetables from his garden and join in the preparation of a simple meal prepared in the traditional method using earthenware pots and firewood as fuel. A great opportunity to sample authentic local cuisine. Back for lunch, check out and start the afternoon’s trek, scaling the famous Sigiriya Rock Fortress, a World Heritage site. This spectacular rock is one of Sri Lanka’s major attractions. Our hotel for tonight is at the foot of the rock with astounding views. Dinner & overnight at Hotel Sigiriya . (B,L,D)
Day 11 (April 6) Kandy –Nuwara Eliya Our next exciting adventure is a flat water river rafting excursion on the Mahaweli River. With expert guides and life jackets, paddle by the beautiful Kandyan countryside. We then leave Kandy for hill country, the coach will bring you to a tea factory for a cup of pure Ceylon Tea and begin another unique trek through some of the most beautiful tea estates in Sri Lanka. After lunch, we continue a fairly challenging trek with a steep climb before we emerge through tea plantations in Pussellawa. Meet coach and transfer to our hotel. Dinner and Overnight at The Galway Forest Lodge. (B,L,D)
Day 9 (April 4) Sigiriya – Kandalama Lake Jungle trek – Dambulla Today we proceed on a 5-hour jungle trek through scrub and along the Kandalama tank to explore Sri Lanka’s finest wilderness! We walk through forest, farmlands and scale the rocks for a breathtaking view of the surrounding plains. A few streams need to be crossed en route where we will remove our boots and wade through water.End of the trek and transfer to our hotel. Lunch and afternoon at leisure. Dinner. Night atThe Amaya Lake, Dambulla. (B,L,D) Day 10 (April 5) Dambulla–Naula – Kandy Depart for Naula for today’s trek leaving the low lying dry zone plains to the wet zone as you ascend the central hills. Walk past farms, cross rivers and pine forests taking in the vegetation and of course the breathtaking views. At the end we return to our coaches on the back of an estate truck navigating through the winding roads. The truck will carry our packed lunches for a great picnic lunch. We then proceed to our hotel in Kandy. A quick wash and back in the coach to visit the temple of the sacred tooth relic of Buddha to witness the evening ceremony. Dinner and night at The Amaya Hills, Kandy. (B,L,D)
Day 12 (April 7) Nuwara Eliya – Horton Plains – Bandarawela (Ella) Leave by coach for Horton Plains. Horton Plains is Sri Lanka's highest plateau at 7200 ft in the central mountain country. This ‘Fen” is a very scenic region with an astounding variety of scenery from mountains to grasslands, from marshes to trout streams and distinctive flora colourful butterflies and many rare highland birds. Trek to Thotupola Peak, the third highest peak in Sri Lanka and continue to ‘World’s End’ for a spectacular view from where the plateau plunges a thousand feet in a straight sheer drop. Also visit the beautiful bridal veil ‘Bakers Falls’. Packed lunch. Leave for Bandarawela (Ella), a scenic hill station and check in at our hotel located in one of the most picturesque landscapes in Sri Lanka’s hill country. Dinner and overnight at Ella Grand Motel. (B,L,D) Day 13 (April 8) Bandarawela (Ella) – Ohiya -Bambarakanda Falls - Embilipitya Take a train from Bandarawela to Ohiya with picnic lunch. Get off from train and start a scenic pine forest trek through tea estates, Tangamale nature reserve and descend on Satan's Steps to Bambarakanda waterfalls. Coach transfer to our hotel. Dinner & night at Centauria Hotel, Embilipitiya. (B,L,D) Day 14 (April 9) Embilipitiya - Arugam Bay - Embilipitiya Leave for Arugam Bay in the East Coast to visit a rural village to see families affected by the recent armed conflict in the North & East of Sri Lanka. The families will be gifted with livestock. Spend time with the families and tour the village with the help of the community leaders. En route lunch. Return to Embilipitiya for dinner and night at Centauria Hotel, Embilipitiya. (B,L,D)
Community Support Project
Tour Conditions FLIGHTS & LAND TOUR CA $3975 per person* * Flights are from Toronto; Montreal;
Ottawa; Halifax. Add-on airfare from Vancouver; Calgary; Edmonton & Winnipeg CA $250 per person Taxes and fuel surcharges CA $300-350 approx.
LAND ONLY TOUR (Excluding flights)
CA $2750 per person
PRICE INCLUDES ◊ Economy class flights to Colombo with Air Canada/Sri Lankan Airlines
◊ 16 nights hotel/lodge/camp accommodation in Sri Lanka ◊ All meals (Starting with breakfast on Day 3 until breakfast on Day 18) including welcome & farewell dinner. ◊ Land transportation by AC coaches and 4 x 4 jeeps on safari ◊ Sri Lanka Tourist board approved national tour guide lecturer throughout the tour ◊ Local trekking guides, game rangers for jungle walks, safaris and hikes ◊ Back up crew and vehicles for emergencies ◊ All admission tickets to tourist attractions, temples, parks, game reserves and research centres. ◊ All adventure activities as outlined in the brochure (See page 2) ◊ Fruits, glucose and dextrose drinks on treks, first aid kits and life jackets ◊ The donation of your personal gift of livestock cattle to a poor farming community in East Sri Lanka ◊ Services of a Canadian trip director Not Included: Travel/medical insurance; Beverages during meals, tips for guides/staff; personal expenses, telephone, laundry etc
Day 15 (April 10) EmbilipitiyaUdawalawe – Tangalle Leave for Udawalawe National Park and visit the Elephant Transit Home, a home to 40 baby elephants that have been orphaned or injured in the wild. The elephants are cared for and rehabilitated here and released. After lunch a jeep Safari of the park, internationally renowned for its large herd of elephants, several species of Deer, Wild Boar, the dangerous Wild Buffalo, Jackal and rare sightings of the Asian Leopard. The elephants of Udawalawe are among the most aggressive in Sri Lanka. The park is a protected sanctuary surrounded by mountain ranges, the terrain of the park is a mixture of grassland, which of all Sri Lanka’s wildlife reserves, best rivals the African savannah with shrub jungle, teak plantations and water holes. Proceed to Tangalle, a coastal resort town in the southern tip of the island. Dinner and Overnight at Palm Paradise Cabanas, Tangalle. (B,L,D) Day 16 (April 11) Tangalle Today we visit “Canadapura” children’s orphanage and the village, a community support program funded by Canadian donors and volunteers. The project is the brainchild of a Canadian Buddhist monk, Rev. W Pannasara of Brampton, Ontario. Children’s orphanage was set up in 2005 to help rehabilitate hundreds of children orphaned in the aftermath of 2004 Asian tsunami. We spend time with the volunteers and staff of the project and your tour organizer has pledged to donate a portion of proceeds from this trip to Canadapura project. Lunch and afternoon free. Dinner and overnight at Palm Paradise Cabanas. (B,L,D)
Pottuvil and Arugam Bay are small towns situated in the Eastern coast, 320 km from Colombo with a population of around 40,000. The Administrative area of Puttuvil Divisional Secretariat consists of 27 smaller remote villages. The main occupation of the people in this region is agriculture while dairy farming and fishing are the other economic activities in the area. The population consists of around 80% Muslims,15% Tamils and 5% Sinhalese. These communities live peacefully in the area and all are capable of working in one language.
Selection Criteria for the Donation Two villages of Kalappukattu and Sengamam have been identified as the most desperate. Recipients of our donations are widows and children who lost their husbands, fathers and livelihoods due to the tsunami or/and the ethnic war. These women are capable and experienced in dairy farming but do not have a steady income or other means to restart their lives. There are also many women who have lost a husband or a son in the family, their main bread-winners, during the 30-year old war that affected as far as these poor villages in the East.
Distribution of the donation The cattle are purchased either from the State Livestock development Board or from recognized farm. Under the supervision of Chairman, Pottuvil Divisional Secretariat, our local representative coordinates the selection process, purchases, transportation and distribution with the active participation of the volunteers and village elders.
Day 17 (April 12) Tangalle – Colombo Leave or Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. Lunch en route and check in to our five-star hotel in Colombo for our final night. A brief guided city tour of Colombo in the afternoon. Special farewell dinner at the hotel. Overnight at The Cinnamon Grand, Colombo. (B,L,D) Day 18 (April 13) Depart for Canada Departure transfer to the Colombo airport for Canada-bound departure flight. (B)
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